Serving the Worldwide Body of Christ through:
- Facilitation of Leadership Encounters, extended times in the presence of God, lasting from one to three days.
- Conference speaking on Building Unity and Collaboration in Your City, Listening Prayer, and Discerning and Dealing with Spiritual Warfare.
- Coaching leadership teams in cities where leaders are intentional building authentic relationships, praying together regularly, and collaborating to release sustained, measurable kingdom impact on the city.
In a day of constantly breaking bad news, here’s some encouraging news. In communities worldwide, existing kingdom leaders are partnering with emerging leaders to grow God’s kingdom through citywide collaboration. I’ve been describing this as “parallel wineskins,” making room for new wine and new ways, while allowing old wineskins to stay around awhile.
Partnering with host George Ordway (Communities, Inc, Fresno), I was both a facilitator and presenter at the first-ever California City Advance last week in Fresno. Here’s a look at these amazing new wineskins, young leaders in Fresno passionate about Christ-centered civic engagement.
Just a few snippets on what these leaders shared:
- existing leaders are providing “on ramps” for young leaders to engage serving the needs of their city
- “City Summit,” an annual gathering of around 400 gen-ex and millenial leaders focusing on how to impact their cities
- practicing the spiritual disciplines in the context of diverse biblical community (“life change only happens in community & accountability”)
We also had some of the best existing city-reaching practitioners on hand: Paul Cedar, CEO of the Mission America Coalition, and evangelical statesman, with a word in season: “Don’t forget the gospel” as we actively engage meeting the felt needs of people in our cities. Our good deeds also serve to open the doors of people’s hearts to hear and receive the good news.
And Phill Butler (Vision Synergy, author, Well Connected), a master practitioner/teacher on the how-to’s of building sustainable partnerships, brought the “nuts and bolts” on what it really takes to walk and work together with vastly different gender, generational, theological and ethnic grids.
This “City Advance” consultation and format is one major, current investment. Another is my involvement over the next two years helping to coordinate the growth of an international network of city movement practitioners, the Global Cities Leadership Community (“GCLC”), men and women committed to building a sustainable John 17 “witness of oneness” in their communities. From my perspective, it’s a privilege to be available to counsel and assist these leaders as they engage citywide collaboration in such cities as Berlin, Budapest, Mumbai, Manila, Nairobi, Oslo, Dubai, Jakarta, etc.
GLOBAL VISION, FINANCIAL NEED. My role in this requires me over the next 18 months to meet face-to-face with groups of these leaders, building relationship, discerning their challenges and learning how Holy Spirit is moving in their unique cultural context. Over this period, we need $5000 to cover added travel costs. If this vision stirs you, please consider a strategic and timely investment in Frontline.
Our short-term goal: gathering 4000-5000 leaders in New York City October 24-28, 2016, to receive biblical exposition from the likes of Tim Keller and Bill Hybels, to present city movement models and share best practices. Long-term: our vision is to establish on-going leadership learning centers in 12 geographic hubs worldwide, to further resource sustainable, fruit-bearing city gospel movements. Here’s the prototype: April 20-24, I will help facilitate some 50 GCLC leaders getting exposure to the “Doxa Deo” movement model in Pretoria, South Africa. We’ll also participate in the first-ever “City Changers” consultation for cities all across South Africa…a virtual learning laboratory.
So, yes….I’m greatly encouraged and energized these days!
The Practitioner’s Guide: Building City Gospel Movements, now avail. @ Amazon
So, it’s been quite a ride in my world since mid-summer. At the invitation of Ian Shelton, longtime friend and colleague from Toowoomba, I cast vision for growing transformational movements in 12 cities in Australia, Aug 18-Sept 9. The surprise? Stepping into an early morning fellowship of some 40 men and women in Hobart, Tazmania, alive with God’s presence. My message brought confirmation and clarity to their journey together with the “city church.” Most encouraging? Sharing with a group of leaders in Canberra called the “shakers” a challenge to pray weekly for kingdom advance in their city. The Anglican Bishop was first to respond, “When do we start? I’m all IN!” The most fun? Speaking at the first-ever Mayor’s Banquet in Toowoomba on the topic, “People of faith partnering with people of good will, for the good of the city.” So, here’s a shot of me presenting to leaders in Canberra:
Last week was “full on” in new York City, facilitating the fifth annual City Advance leaders learning community with colleagues Glenn Barth (GoodCities) and George Ordway (Communities, Inc). With 70 delegates from around 20 city movements, we focused on three core principles: 1) Cross sector collaboration, 2) Building a sustainable culture of honor, and 3) People of faith partnering with people of good will. Our most fun exercise: the four different cultures of pastors, para-church, marketplace and prayer mobilizers interacting honestly, asking of one another, what do you most appreciate about _________? What frustrates you most about _________? What counsel would you share with ___________? The room was rather, shall we say, “alive!”
City Advance has already gone regional: our aim is to make this learning experience affordable, accessible and contextual. We gather in Portland, OR Dec 1 & 2 at the Luis Palau Association (PNW-City Impact Roundtable), and Feb 11-13 in Fresno, for the first-ever all California Regional City Advance. If interested in either, email me for details.
Recently, my wife Terri and me watched the video series, “Living in Christ’s Presence,” with Dallas Willard and John Ortberg, filmed several months before Dallas passed. Here’s a quotation that ignited a fresh vision for city movements:
“When serious followers of Jesus in any particular city become more consciously aware of one another,
and intentional about connecting and learning from one another what they are learning
from Jesus…you have the makings of authentic spiritual awakening.”
Friends, that’s what I hunger for in my own city. That what I long to see happen in any city where I’m engaged. A healthy, citywide Body of Christ advancing God’s kingdom on their knees, humbled at the foot of the Cross.
Unmistakeably, the Holy Spirit is stirring the hearts of God’s people worldwide–across theological, racial and generational barriers–to worship, walk and work together, and display a “witness of oneness” (John 17:21-23) to cultures that are broken and fragmented.
In early May, I had the joy of speaking in London at “Gather,” an annual consultation of city movement practitioners from around the UK. There are now over 100 cities of diverse size where the Body of Christ is coming together to intentionally serve and bless their local community. I was inspired listening to Lloyd. He shared that in 2001, the London Times designated Stoke-on-Trent as one of the the worst places to live in England. The collective Church made this observation: “it’s not the quantify of darkness that matters here, but rather the quality of the light.” In twelve years, the quality of life in Stoke-on-Trent has changed in dramatic, measurable ways.
I brought encouragement to my fellow fanatical city-reachers by sharing stories from healthy citywide movements in North America, India and Eastern Europe. Last June, in Bangalore, INDIA, I was involved in launching the Global Cities Leadership Community (GCLC), a mix of practitioners and educators committed to this mission: Helping catalyze, celebrate and accelerate sustainable city gospel movements worldwide. Under the leadership of Dr. Mac Pier (New York City Leadership Center, and Director of Movement Day (www.movementday.com), I serve as the coordinator of this global community, which we are now expanding. We are praying and planning towards a “Global Cities Movement Day” in the Fall of 2016. This is on track with my passion and call to catalyze sustainable, fruit-bearing John 17 communities worldwide. This is under the banner of the “Lausanne Movement,” well renowned for this vision: “The whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole city.” Mac is the Lausanne Senior Leader working specifically with city movements.
On the Horizon ~~ Ministry in Australia, Aug 18-Sept 8
Ian Shelton, pastor in Toowoomba, Australia, has faithfully promoted unity and collaboration in Christ’s Body since the mid 1970’s. A longstanding friend and colleague, Ian has opened a door for me to introduce my book and speak in ten cities around the nation (The Practitioner’s Guide: Building City Gospel Movements). I’m eager to get on-site “down under,” release the vision and wisdom the Lord has imparted to me, and also to observe, listen, learn and receive from what the Spirit is doing in this great nation. As a very secular, productive and fun-loving nation, Australia desperately needs spiritual awakening. In London, I was privileged to envision and pray into this visit with Ian and Pastor Rick Prosser.
Terri and I would greatly appreciate your agreement with us in prayer, asking and believing the Spirit to bring Jesus’ Body into increased health and collaboration in the cities of Australia. If you wish to keep more current with my itinerary, sign up to receive the CONNECTION, Frontline’s monthly e-bulletin. Email email@example.com, with “CONNECTION” in the subject line.
Thanks for your interest, intercession and investment in our calling.
As we press into 2014, the city gospel movement worldwide is strong “on the radar!” What was once inspired vision, is now reality in numerous communities of Jesus followers. Increasingly, it’s my joy to connect and consult meaningfully with innovative leaders of such movements, such as Sacramento in mid-January, pictured below:
But while this is a global phenomenon, the movement must become real locally. In my home state of Oregon, we just had the 24th annual Leaders Prayer Summits for both Lane County (Eugene & Springfield), and “Church of the Valley” (Corvallis area). We continue to simply watch for what the Spirit of God is touching, and join him. This past December, our “COV~Corvallis” team came away with fresh vision from our Pacific NW City Impact Roundtable in Portland (12th annual gathering of cities from Oregon, Washington and Idaho).
Here are a few of Terri’s and my friends at the December Roundtable, longtime colleagues in our community co-laboring to see the big kingdom picture globally, obey the word of the Lord, and apply his will locally.
I’m getting great response to my recent book, The Practitioner’s Guide: Building City Gospel Movements, a helpful, practical “toolkit” for city or regional movement leadership teams, featured in my December blog. You can order copies direct from me: 1 for $15, 2 for $28 and $12 each for orders over 5, shipped. Simply send me your order via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), give me your shipping address, pay through the paypal link, or I can invoice you.
So, city-reaching friend…keep thinking globally, and apply what you learn locally.
Abilene, West Texas, a city gospel movement on a growing edge. Working with kingdom leaders in Abilene has been fruitful…and fun! Stan, the man in the middle, is the Chief of Police, serves on the citywide “1 Kingdom” leadership team, and has been at all four Summits I’ve led the past two years. Norm, the Mayor, joined us last month for an evening of worship and intercession. This is real-deal kingdom community in the making: men, women, evangelicals, charismatics African-Americans, Hispanics, non- profits and marketplace movers and shakers advancing God’s kingdom. And with key leaders sitting in from Tucson, Lubbock and Waco, this is a movement with potential to multiply its influence.
This is one of the many stories I share in my new book, The Practitioner’s Guide: Building City Gospel Movements. I encourage you to pick one up, give it a read, then pass it on to a local pastor, business leader or intercessor keen on John 17 unity and collaboration. This is my core life message, bringing a balance of inspiration through story, and practical wisdom.
A couple of relevant chapters: “”City Church: Biblical? Achieveable?” and “Expanding Collaborative Partnerships in Your City.”
PRICE: $16 shipped, $30 for two. Send your order and mailing address to email@example.com, and pay via the DONATE paypal button, or I’ll invoice you.
12th Annual Pacific NW City Impact Roundtable
Last week 135 leaders from around 20 city movements in Oregon, Washington and Idaho gathered at the Luis Palau Association in Beaverton, OR. This was one of our best yet in 12 years. Rick McKinley, pastor of Imago Dei in Portland brought some very convicting and impactful messages, mostly on the kind of Christlike character required for building a citywide movement. Portland continues to steward a model that mobilizes saints to both serve their communities (church/school partnerships, foster care, sex trafficking) and share the gospel.
Members of our Corvallis team engaged in a lot of meaningful dialogue, coming away with some fresh action steps to engage more folksin our congregations serving and reaching our community. We shared our story: having built a culture of praying for and sharing the gospel with unbelievers, we’re seeing the Spirit stir the hearts of foreign students at Oregon State University to search out the truths of the Bible, and seek to know who Jesus is.
A closing observation. At this years’s “PNW-CIR,” I was encouraged to watch teams of leaders from cities (Seattle, Portland, Spokane, Eugene, Sacramento, Longview- Kelso) process the Word of the Lord through Pastor Rick and the city stories, and ask, “What next step can we take to further grow John 17 unity and impact in our city?” From our meager beginnings 12 years ago with 20-25 faithful pioneers from a few cities in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, this is now a movement of God that is growing, maturing and bearing lasting fruit for His glory.
Thanks for your interest, intercession and investment. As we come up on the end of another year, please consider a gift to Frontline (you may give thru the DONATE button to the right).
UPCOMING SCHEDULE ~~~
Jan 10, Facilitate Internet Meeting, Global Urban Leadership Learning Community
Jan 23, City Leadership Consultation, Sacramento, CA
Jan 27-29 Leaders Prayer Summit, Eugene-Springfield, OR
Feb 3-6 Leaders Prayer Summit, “Church of the Valley,” OR
Feb 9 “Adoration” (citywide worship), Corvallis, OR (hosted by Calvary Corvallis, 6 PM)
Now available, The Practitioner’s Guide: Building City Gospel Movements. I feel I have captured my core life message in this book. For several years, my main, plain aim has been to help catalytic, visionary leaders grow their Psalm 133/John 17 movement to the next level of kingdom impact and fruitfulness. Here’s a “praise from Ceasar” endorsement from colleague Jim Herrington, Mission Houston:
“Tom White is the most seasoned, mature city movement leader that I know.
He thinks conceptually at a very high level, but his thinking is informed by his
‘boots-on-the-ground’ life experience that gives his writing profound clarity.”
I’m a theologian/practitioner. I take time to develop a much-needed biblical theology of “city transformation,” but then unpack the practical, working components of a healthy, fruit-bearing John 17 kingdom community. Chapter 3 hits a core question head-on: “The City Church: Biblical? Achieveable?”
So, I can send you a copy shipped for $16 (email, text or call). You can easily pay for it using the paypal at this site. Give it a read, then pass it on to another local leader of influence keen on building John 17 unity in your city. And if you don’t yet have the 2011 revised version of my classic work, The Believer’s Guide to Spiritual Warfare (Regal), I can do that one for $14 (a biblical, practical word on a complex topic).
I’m wearing “four hats” these days:
- Coach/consultant for city and regional movements of unity, prayer and collaboration
- Serving on the Leadership Cabinet for “Movement Day” (annual gathering of city practitioners in New York)
- Designer and facilitator of the “City Advance,” a two day leadership learning community that precedes Movement Day
- Co-Coodinator of the Global Urban Leadership Learning Community (GULLC), urban theologians and practitioners who meet on the internet. We’re tracking towards a face-to-face in London in May, 2014, and a Global Congress in New York in 2016.
And here are “four words” that describe what I aim to impart to leaders of gospel city movements:
- “cohesion” Relational friendship described by Jesus in John 17, and Paul in Phil 2 and Eph 4
- “infusion” of supernatural power through the regular practice of citywide corporate spiritual disciplines of worship, prayer and service. I believe a healthy city movement will engage in a rhythm of corporate spirituality
- “theological vision” Leaders discerning and learning how to apply the timeless principles of the Word of God to a particular people engaged in a specific cultural milieu
- “implementation” of collaborative strategies for sharing the good news and good deeds of the gospel, with the aim of winning and discipling increased numbers of souls in your city
Here’s an “on-the-job” shot, bringing the keynote at the City Advance in New York, October 8:
The mission statement of the City Advance:
to connect, equip and coach leaders of collaborative city movements to more effectively steward transformational change that results in measurable increase of God’s reign in cities.
Check out my “Ministry Offerings.” As the Lord wills and leads, I’d love to come to your city for a “Leadership Encounter,” or to cast vision for igniting and growing a gospel movement.